Since the Pattaya Orphanage opened in 1974, more than 800 children have passed through its doors. Radchada (Toy) Chomjinda spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club at their Sunday, February 23 meeting. Toy is well known to the club through her long association with the Pattaya Orphanage and bringing the orphanage’s choir to entertain the club at their annual Christmas celebration. She was the secretary to the founder Father Ray Brennan, a Redemptorist Priest, until his passing away and then volunteered to continue on as the Orphanage’s Inter-Country Adoptions Representative.
She presented a short video about the orphanage, after which she talked about its current projects, its history and her involvement with the organisation. She explained how The Pattaya Orphanage was started by Father Ray using land provided by the Catholic Diocese of Chanthaburi. Further, today, the orphanage has 50 babies (and 50 registered nurses to look after them) included in its current occupancy of 180 children. Toy explained that all the children are not orphans in that they have no parents; some were abandoned while others were placed there by parents who did not have the resources to bring up their children.
Toy from Pattaya Orphanage is presented a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the Pattaya City Expats Club by Board Member and former Chairman Richard Smith for her excellent presentation on the Pattaya Orphanage and the Human Help Network Foundation.
The orphanage also has a school for the deaf. The school for the deaf has children aged 3-9; they study at a kindergarten in the orphanage for three years, Toy explained.
Toy introduced two alumni of the Pattaya Orphanage: Piroon Noi-Imjai (nickname Pakin) and Pornsook Chuerjangchin (nickname Lam). She explained that Pakin started living in the orphanage when he was three years old. He is now 29, has graduated from university and is a social worker with a foundation in Bangkok that works with slum children. Pakin spoke for a few minutes about Father Ray and how the Orphanage helped him with his education and his life. Toy described Lam as the elder sister to all of the children in the orphanage. Lam also spoke for a few minutes how Father Ray and the orphanage had also given her the opportunity to have a good life.
PCEC member David Andersen invites members and guests to join with him in participating in the Father Ray Foundation sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade and festivities on March 17.
Toy came to work for the Pattaya Orphanage more than 20 years ago after a varied career that included working in two embassies in Bangkok and being a fundraising assistant for UNICEF. She came to Pattaya to meet with Father Ray to ask him for a meaningful job in which she could gain and at the same time contribute. She worked as private secretary to Father Ray for more than eight years. Towards the end of this period, Father Ray became ill and was unable to come to office every day or to put in a full shift. Toy said she took on some of Father Ray’s responsibilities and this helped her to learn the ropes.
Toy described the feelings of uncertainty about what would happen to the Orphanage after Father Ray died, and that this was one of the reasons the Father Ray Foundation was established in 2002. Father Ray died in August 2003. She explained how the Father Ray Foundation and the Pattaya Orphanage separated in 2007 and how this presented her with a dilemma; should she go with the foundation or stay at the orphanage? Since she was the only one at the orphanage working on inter-country adoptions she did not want to see that work stopped – thus she decided to stay with the orphanage and agreed to work as a volunteer since the orphanage had very little capital at that time.
Toy said that in 2008 she helped establish the Human Help Network Foundation (HHNF) as a fundraising arm for the orphanage and its projects. She is now the director of the HHNF. Also, the HHNF established the child protection and development project on its own. Its mission is to support children and adolescents in need and to fight child trafficking in Thailand and South East Asia.
Radchada (Toy) from the Pattaya Orphanage introduces Piroon (Pakin) and Pornsook (Lam) who spoke to the PCEC about how their lives were improved by the care and education they received through the orphanage.
Toy explained that several embassies in Bangkok donated funds to HHNF which was used to build houses for the children to live in. She said that children of different ages lived in these homes in an attempt to make it feel more like a family. She added that this project did not take away from funds raised from the regular Pattaya Orphanage benefactors which are used entirely for the benefit of the orphanage.
PCEC members and guests enjoy watching the informative video on the work of the Pattaya Orphanage; now celebrating its 40th year.
People who want to donate to the orphanage can do so through the HHNF or through the orphanage directly. Toy explained that the Pattaya Orphanage has a programme whereby donors can sponsor individual children. Full sponsorship, which is 70,000 baht a year, is beyond the means of many would-be donors, so a partial sponsorship category was created whereby donors can give 5,500 baht a year or 450 baht a month.
For more information on Pattaya Orphanage, visit www.thepattayaorphanage.org. Information on the Human Help Network Foundation is available at http://www.hhnthailand.org.
After Toy answered several questions, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on current activities and events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the always interesting and informative Open Forum; a time when questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.
For more information on the Club’s many activities visit www.pcecclub.org.